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Did you know it's National Caviar Day?! Sterling Caviar is the leading producer of domestic caviar and they provided us with a caviar sampler pack. I also attended an informative facebook live with Sterling Caviar that taught me about the sustainably-farmed sturgeon that produces the caviar. You can see the replay on facebook here. True caviar comes from sturgeon eggs and anything else must be prefixed with the source, such as salmon caviar, rather than just saying caviar! Also, scroll down to the bottom for a 20% discount code following the review.
I did some additional research to help familiarize myself with caviar. First lesson was how to care for the eggs prior to the tasting. These are placed in the coldest part of your refrigerator and I used ice packs to keep them chilled. You DO NOT freeze your caviar! Second, metal utensils are not recommended because it alters the perception of the taste buds in your mouth! The sampler pack included a mother of pearl spoon which was a neutral tool for scooping out the eggs.
To open the tin, you insert the silver tool into the circular edges then open like a bottle cap. Don't open it upside down though (picture is only a reference)! This tool must be camera shy because I initially had trouble opening it. A second later, with camera off, it suddenly popped open! The trick for me seemed to be the angle, using the corner edge, not straight like my previous attempts. Then again, perhaps you're better at opening beers than me. =)
Here's all three tins in a single shot. The differences in color and size are very noticeable between the three! From left to right is classic, supreme, and royal. The middle supreme has the most brownish olive tones while the other two are almost irridescent black. The classic is the smallest in diameter while the other two are bigger. Per their site, 15 grams is typically enough for one person. With a set of three 30 gram tins, I extended the caviar tasting to some friends during a potluck.
Sterling Caviar Classic - Nutty, Robust, & Smooth
We started with the classic caviar first. And to be clear, I did have a taste which caused that top right dip. This caviar was the tiniest size, around the 2-3mm size. These little acrobats rolled around in your mouth, making it a little harder to pop onto your tongue for tasting. The first few thoughts were fishy, salty, and a little oily, but in a good way.
Sterling Caviar Royal - Rich, Nutty, & Savory
Moving forward, the royal grade was next. These eggs were larger, closer to the 3-4mm size. Immediately we could taste a difference between the first and second. This one had more of a fresh seawater taste to it and moved to the top of the approval ladder. With the bigger size, the smooth and silky eggs were easier to crush in your mouth to extract that caviar flavor.
Sterling Caviar Supreme - Full-bodied, Rich, & Buttery
We were down to the last tin, the supreme grade. These eggs had a beautiful brownish olive tint, much lighter than the other two. They were also around the same size as the second sample. Once again, these were more on the fishy, salty, a little oilier side but stood out as the favorite of the group. This was definitely an eye-opening experience for me as well as my friends. Most had never eaten caviar before and were introduced in a very informative way! The included tasting guide really helped them look for caviar characteristics during the tasting. The sample pack was plenty for our little group.
The Sterling Caviar website recommends an Albarino if you want to pair with wine. This is a high-quality, light-bodied white that grows mostly in Spain and Portugal. It’s loved for its high acidity, refreshing citrus flavors, dry taste, and subtle saltiness, plus it pairs well with seafood dishes. Another popular alcohol pairing option is Russian vodka, but that's a bit strong for my tastes!
We sampled the caviar with Lay's potato chips and Ritz crackers but other pairing options are toast points, blinis, and crème fraîche. The Sterling Caviar website also includes two recipes if you want to go that route!
If you want to test the waters on caviar, check out your fresh sourced seafood restaurants for a taste. Our local Fishmonger's Market offered a few options with a caviar accent such as this gorgeous hamachi crudo (pictured above). I attended a chef celebration dinner last year at Arterra which including a seafood dish with caviar as well. Even my family has tried it when the father-in-law purchased some for the grandparent's birthday! Sterling Caviar would be a great source for enjoying caviar at home for a special occasion. All of the caviar I tried is available on their website for purchase: https://www.sterlingcaviar.com/.
*** Special promotion code STERLING098 saves 20% off any product valid through August 2, 2018. ***
Have you tried caviar and what did you think?
Disclaimer: We were invited to sample this product complimentary. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own